Our Humble Beginnings

Sam Spina Importing Co. Inc. resurrected the company in 2012. Its roots are embedded in the Spina family history beginning with Sam Spina's immigration to Birmingham, Alabama from Palermo, San Giuseppe Jato, Sicily at the turn of the 19th century. Young Sam came to America at the age of 18 with $8.00 in his pocket.

After finding his way through Ellis Island in New York City, he settled in Margaret, Alabama where he found work in the coal mines of Alabama. It didn't take long for Sam to recognize the opportunities available to him in the United States. After a move to Ensley, Alabama in west Birmingham, he returned to Sicily and brought his bride Mary Vaccaro back to his new home in the Birmingham area.

He opened Sam Spina Importing Co. on Morris Avenue around 1907, importing dry goods and olive oil from the "old country" for resale to small mom and pop grocery stores.

In 1939, Sam Spina purchased the building at 2205 Morris Ave. in Birmingham, Alabama. Sam Spina Importing Co. occupied the space at 2201 Morris Ave. until 1963. The historic warehouse still remains today and is home to a law office in Birmingham, Alabama.

After Sam's death in 1950, the business continued under the ownership of Sam’s two sons, Paul A. Spina and Dominic Spina, and continued to provide products to grocery stores well into the early 1960s. The brothers ultimately "closed shop" when the bigger companies put the little man out of business.

The Present

Fast forward to 2011, Tommy Spina, local criminal defense lawyer, grandson of Sam and son of Paul, along with his wife Johnnie, reconnected with Tommy’s roots in Sicily and formed new relationships with his cousins abroad.

After a dinner with the family one night, Tommy's cousin Marco Spina, father of partner Ornella Spina, suggested that Tommy and Johnnie consider importing little known Sicilian wines and share the varietals indigenous to Sicily with the United States, specifically, Alabama.

Our Teams

Our Sicilian team: Marco Spina, Ornella Spina, her husband Alessandro Lo Re, and our Birmingham team: Tommy, Johnnie, and Emma Spina, started on this personal family business venture. The new Sam Spina Importing Co., Inc which operates out of Birmingham, Alabama and Palermo, Sicily, was formed.

Connecting Birmingham and Sicily

After a two-year effort in both Birmingham and Sicily, Sam Spina Importing Co., Inc. connected with International Wine and Craft Beer, a wine distributor in Alabaster, Alabama. The company launched its first two products, in conjunction with boutique wineries located in the Marsala and the Mount Etna/Messina regions of Sicily, and, now, 10 labels are offered for sale. With the excellent family efforts of all, the future is filled with growth and excitement.

Ornella Spina, co-founder and partner, along with Alessandro, are both sommeliers and food and wine enthusiasts. Their passion for wine has led them to collaborate with well-known wineries in the Sicilian area. They are experts in wine tasting techniques, organizing and serving as sommeliers at trade fairs and events in the food and wine sector. They are invaluable members of our Sicilian team.

Tommy Spina manages the company from Birmingham while Johnnie and Emma Spina of Tampa, Florida, handle national digital media marketing. Tommy and Johnnie attend wine trade shows and events throughout Alabama with their company brand ambassador, Clay Overstreet and the company logistics coordinator, Ben Preston. Additionally, Johnnie and friends serve the enviable role of tasters and offer invaluable insights into the intricacies and subtle differences in each wine’s flavor.

Premium wines at good value

Taste the History!